IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C3.5, Convention Centre, Level 3

Session information

Mediating political conflict in times of crisis: the past, present and future of the most common and suitable type of disputes for mediators

Wednesday 11 October (1430 - 1730)

Room C3.5, Convention Centre, Level 3


Mediation Committee (Lead)
African Regional Forum
Arab Regional Forum
Asia Pacific Regional Forum
Banking & Financial Law Committee
European Regional Forum
Latin American Regional Forum
North American Regional Forum


A famous French author used to say that arbitration is the greatest peacekeeper. Perhaps, but isn’t it so because arbitration borrows its reconciling spirit from mediation? And what about the power of mediation, especially in a political frame work where disputes reach such a confrontational level that the recourse to violence is nearby? History shows that, often, mediation was used in every continent to resolve, effectively, a bitter dispute and even sometimes wars that could not have ended otherwise. Examples from the past where mediation was effectively used are legion – Poland in the 1980s, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Cuba, the Koreas, Cambodia and Myanmar – until today and perhaps even more in our current world of tensions, crispation and ‘post-fact’ or ‘alternative facts’. It is sufficient to think of the disruption caused by new waves of refugees, including those caused by climate change and the ‘uberisation’ of the economy. More than ever, mediation, primarily flexible, resolution-focused and not fact-orientated, is needed in an era of profound change and violent transitions, and conflict is often the result of significant economic, social and political changes that have taken place throughout history. People, often wise experts or those with an international or wellrespected stature, well-acquainted with those in-depth changes, will make the difference and bridge the gap. Also, collaborative, agreedupon interest-based processes can allow people to ‘socialise’ these conflicts to address their causes through group dialogue and discussion and recommendations for preventative, system-wide, strategic improvement without political intrigue and infighting or recourse to violence. The responsibility for resolving conflicts can then go beyond a limited circle of aggressive antagonists to encompass allies, secret partners, neutral bystanders and others whose relationships to the participants or issues could make peaceful solutions possible. Players of that nature, coming from different backgrounds and regions will be invited to speak and share their experience and input, just to show that, if the German philosopher Thomas Mann was right to say ‘everything is politics’, mediating politics is the key to everything, especially peace building.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Tomasz Cyrol Tomasz Cyrol Kancelaria Adwokacka, Kraków, Poland; Conference Quality Officer, Mediation Committee
Karim Nassif Nassif Arbitration, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Vice Chair, Mediation Committee


Patricia Barclay Bonaccord Ecosse Limited, Edinburgh, Scotland; Chair, Healthcare and Life Sciences Law Committee
Vod K S Chan Ronny Wong SC's Chambers, Central, Hong Kong SAR
Alain Farhad Squire Patton Boggs, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Andreas Frischknecht Chaffetz Lindsey, New York, New York, USA
Lamia R Matta Co-Chair, Arab Regional Forum